Passivr Rooster

SHP

Chirping
Sep 12, 2021
23
66
69
This is our first ever flock of our own and all of the chickens were given to us one was or another, they're all quite lovely for the most part.

I haven't been able to find much info about this, I had made a lengthy reply to a thread a few weeks ago with no responses, so I'll try again here because I really don't know what to do. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Our rooster has been separated from our 6 girls for the last few weeks, almost 3 now I think, to give his feathers time to grow back.

He is a (mostly) BCM and just now 6 months old.

He will just stand there and let the hens pull his feathers out! They had his chest and neck almost bare. I had isolated the hen that I had seen most often doing this, thinking maybe she needs to be rearranged in the pecking order, but the others had been doing it too apparently.

Ive increased their protein, they have boredom busters, I tried gobbling him up with stop pick, nothing has helped. They aren't pulling each other's feathers, only his.

The girls are always interested in him.

Yesterday, his feathers were filling out and no longer the tiny starts of feathers showing (from what I understand they're attracted to these little blood filled quills), so I let him out to see how it would go. He was only out with them for 10 minutes or less, they were responsive to his dancing and everyone was having a good time it seemed, but then they started at his feathers again!

He literally just LETS them!

Does anyone have any insight? Has anyone ever seen this before? Any ideas what to do for him? With them? My husband suggests getting rid of him and just having hens, but I really don't want to give up on him.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,438
38,619
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Colorado Rockies
I have this in my flock with my two roosters and I've been trying to solve the problem for fourteen years.

Why do roosters permit this to happen to them? No one can say unless they can discover how to get roosters to talk. But I believe it's a social thing. Just as hens will hold very still while another hen permits her beak to be gratuitously cleaned by another hen, so do roosters hold still while he permits hens to "groom" him, even though feathers are being snatched in the process.

So, adding more protein to the diet may not make any difference if this is a social issue and not a dietary one. I've tried installing pinless peepers on the worst behaving hens, but many just learn to liberate feathers in spite of the inhibited vision. You can give that a try, but I haven't found it to solve the problem.

Over years of observing this behavior, and tearing my own hair out in frustration, I've noticed some of these hens are high strung, overly aggressive, and rather obsessive. It leads me to believe it's a brain problem.

Currently, I'm running an experiment in my own flock with a protein element called Tryptophan. It works directly on the brain chemistry to calm behavior. You might follow my thread as I learn more. Early results are looking to be promising. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/feather-picking-and-a-possible-way-to-control-it.1495721/
 

SHP

Chirping
Sep 12, 2021
23
66
69
I have this in my flock with my two roosters and I've been trying to solve the problem for fourteen years.

Why do roosters permit this to happen to them? No one can say unless they can discover how to get roosters to talk. But I believe it's a social thing. Just as hens will hold very still while another hen permits her beak to be gratuitously cleaned by another hen, so do roosters hold still while he permits hens to "groom" him, even though feathers are being snatched in the process.

So, adding more protein to the diet may not make any difference if this is a social issue and not a dietary one. I've tried installing pinless peepers on the worst behaving hens, but many just learn to liberate feathers in spite of the inhibited vision. You can give that a try, but I haven't found it to solve the problem.

Over years of observing this behavior, and tearing my own hair out in frustration, I've noticed some of these hens are high strung, overly aggressive, and rather obsessive. It leads me to believe it's a brain problem.

Currently, I'm running an experiment in my own flock with a protein element called Tryptophan. It works directly on the brain chemistry to calm behavior. You might follow my thread as I learn more. Early results are looking to be promising. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/feather-picking-and-a-possible-way-to-control-it.1495721/
Thank you! I really appreciated this! It's encouraging knowing, at least, that it's not just our boy! I will definitely be following along!!
 

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